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Health care personnel report on side effects

Wondering how it feels the day after a COVID-19 vaccine?

In the first days since receiving doses, Lehigh Valley Health Network administered more than 1,000 vaccinations to front-line, high-risk workers and planned to vaccinate about 6,000 more in the coming days.

Of those who received a vaccination, three people reported side effects. One person had redness and swelling at the injection site, one had an itchy throat and the other had a fever. Symptoms for each person subsided quickly. Of the colleagues who had known severe allergies, no side effects were reported.

“Except for a sore arm at the injection site, much like how I felt when I got the flu shot, it is business as usual today,” said Jennifer Rovella, D.O., Lehigh Valley Physician Group, pulmonary and critical care medicine department. “I feel great knowing that this is the beginning to the end of the pandemic.”

Chantal Branco, RN, with LVHN Patient Care Services, the first person in the region and at LVHN to receive the Pfizer-authorized vaccine, had a similar reaction.

“I’m feeling great today,” Branco reported. “My left arm is a little sore but nothing that is keeping me from my normal daily activities.”

Glenn Thompson, RN, LVHN Emergency Services, said getting the shot didn’t limit him in any way.

“About 24 hours after getting the vaccine, I have no issues besides a slightly sore arm at the injection site,” he noted.

Marcelo Gareca, M.D., LVPG Infectious Diseases, went a bit further in describing he was not impacted by the vaccine.

“I am feeling fine,” he said. “My arm is no sorer than when I get the flu shot. It did not stop me from doing yoga at home last night, working yesterday and today or shoveling snow this morning.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the most commonly reported side effects are pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. It’s important to remember if you do experience some of these mild symptoms, they usually go away within a day or two, and the symptoms are far milder than what most people experience when they are sick with COVID-19.

Medical officials say the vaccine cannot cause a COVID-19 infection.

While the shot itself cannot make you contagious, it is important for everyone to continue wearing a face mask. Officials say it is unclear at this point if the vaccine prevents people from becoming infected with COVID-19 or if it prevents feeling sick when infected. That means you could still transmit the virus after you have received your shot.

To learn more and ask a question, visit lvhn.org/treatments/covid-19-vaccines.